First Impressions: Fall 2016

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Anime Reviews Reviews
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Nothing says “end of the year” quite like the Fall season! While most of us head into exam month and work peak period, it’s also a good time to pick up a new series to wind down with after a busy day. We’ve checked out the first episodes of the Fall 2016 releases already so you don’t have to waste your time. Check it out!

Note: In these types of posts, we won’t be reviewing any sequels. For the full list of Fall 2016 releases, click here.


Disclaimer: The following reviews contain minor spoilers. 

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3-gatsu no Lion

Hayley:  Okay, so 3-Gatsu no Lion was really anticipated by fans of the manga, with the manga winning numerous awards and all. I have to admit that I actually placed my expectations on the anime too high, but it still did pretty well! I mean, hype always kills stuff, so I was pleased that the anime did as good as I hoped it would turn out to be.

The opening was captivating enough to get me pulled in to the world, and damn, that opening song is so good!! It blends with the opening scene perfectly. It scared me a little to be honest but I can already feel the strong vibe of Shigatsu Kimi no Uso mixed with a little comedy and “fuwa-fuwaness”. The story itself is really interesting but one thing I didn’t like was the visuals. I mean, I love, LOVE the background, but I felt that the characters did not suit it. Still, I think I will get used to it after watching a few episodes so that isn’t a huge problem. I just hope that the anime keeps up this pace and does not begin going downhill.

Rating: 4/5 moons

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ALL OUT!!

Jane: The first ever rugby anime, which is set to be airing 25 episodes (!!). I had pretty high expectations for it. The opening was a tad bit disappointing with some lazy frames here and there, but I think everything else looks pretty promising so far. The art style is very clean, and seems to have more chibi elements than most sports anime out there, which allows me to predict that it would be a humour-heavy series. The cast is A+ though, with one of my personal favourite voices, Yoshimaya Hosoya-san, and other familiar names within the sports anime realm, like Ryōta Ōsaka-san, and Kenshō Ono-san.

The story line, though, can probably be expected to be kind of cliche? The shounen vibes are strong, with the typical “not born for this” main character, and his “naturally talented but not confident” sidekick, who are so inspired to become the best players in their team, and they’re going to be the best first-year duo, etc. That aside, the amount of emphasis on muscles, build, and height is providing an unbelievable amount of eye candy for those who like them big guns.

Rating: 3.5/5 moons

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Bloodivores 

Asyraf: Let me get this straight: From the first episode alone, we can say that this anime is about planned robbery within a developed city, humans that feed on blood, murders and a lil bit of politics. Then from its opening scene, there were monsters and dragons. Yes, I know, it’s all over the place o_o

Without actually reading the synopsis of Bloodivores, you wouldn’t have thought that these group of friends were actually vampires, and the MC, Mi Liu, being a hybrid (half vampire half human). All I can say is that there’s not much explanation done about what this series is all about just from the first airing. Other that that, I guess the animations aren’t too bad.

Rating: 2/5 moons

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Drifters

Joon-Keat: If you are familiar with any of Kouta Hirano‘s work, you would know that Drifters is going to be anything but kid-friendly. This anime is not going to hold back a lot of things and I’m very certain a lot of the upcoming episodes are going to be very raw and violent (which I love.) There is a lot of potential for this anime to do well as it already has a lot of the great ingredients.

It all depends on execution now, but judging from how immersive the first episode was – due to the art, music and voice acting which are all quite commendable – I don’t think failing would be easy for this anime. Looking for a show that is not going to hold back the violence and mystery with a story line that is anything but generic? This anime is something you can look forward to this season. (Also, expect a review when it’s done.)

Rating: 4.5/5 moons

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Fune wo Amu 

Nat: As a lover of words, this anime about making dictionaries has activated a part of my brain I haven’t been contact with for a long, long time. Among all the Fall releases, I’m glad there’s at least one anime like this; melancholic, slow-paced, with great emphasis on the finer details. Except for the weirdly unsuitable OP, everything else from visuals to audio, script and characters were of high standard.

This anime seems like it’s going to be consistent, so I’m expecting future episodes to maintain the same kind of seinen/dramatic vibe. The plot so far was pretty straight forward – in fact, almost predictable – but I got a feeling it’s going to be more character-driven than plot-driven anyway. I doubt this series will be for everyone, but personally, I’ve got high hopes for it!

Rating: 4/5 moons

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Girlish Number 

Asyraf: Okay, this series has a quite interesting first episode so far. You’ll see how voice actors/actresses (seiyuu) work hand-in-hand with others, and at the same time, how they start bitching about other seiyuu that they don’t like (lol). I guess there are dark side of being a voice actors too huh.

Overall, first episode seems pretty enjoyable, and the visuals are nice too! If you’re interested about how a person with attitude want to become a seiyuu, you can try give Girlish Number a go~

Rating: 3.5 /5 moons

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Idol Memories

Chloe: Nice songs and beautiful visuals. This series kind of reminds me of Dream Festival a little, except that the transformation scenes are less intense. Oh, this series has some fan service in its very first episode too. The episode ended with seiyuu of the two idol groups conducting their program which caught me by surprise. Although, it is a pleasant surprise to see them having fun though.

Rating: 3 /5 moons

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Keijo!!!!!!!!

Nat: Keijo is the name of a sport where girls fight to be last man standing on a floating platform… after they use their boobs and butts to push everyone else off. Only in this sport, will you hear the words “BUTT CANNON” being used completely unironically. Isn’t girl sports anime great?!

In all seriousness though, I actually enjoyed that first episode. I went into it expecting major cringe factor, but it was more amusing and – honest to god – heart-pounding to watch than I thought! I’m giving it a 3.5 moon rating for now because I had so much fun, but I wouldn’t recommend it for people looking for something serious; especially since it’ll probably become even more ridiculous as the series wears on.

Rating: 3.5/5 moons

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Long Riders!

Asyraf: This slice of life series is about Ami Kurata, a first-year university student who suddenly fell in love with the folding bicycle. With the help of her close friend, Niigaki Aoi, Ami started to learn cycling right after she bought a new bicycle.

If you’re all about the chill and slow pacing pacing, this series is for you. Or else you’ll find Long Rider to be rather boring and unattractive. The visuals weren’t that great either. But hey, there are bits and pieces of comedy in it, so maybe you’ll enjoy some of them~

Rating: 2/5 moons

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Lostorage incited WIXOSS

Nat: I decided to take this on because I watched the other WIXOSS anime. Those were pretty good and it seems like this one will be decent as well. From the first episode, I can see that this spin-off will probably contain a lot of the same plot points as the other; all of them being fantasy/action stories with a darker feel, focusing on the characters’ past and troubles. Since I watched the others, this series might be more predictable for me but it should be better for first time viewers. As a plus, the visuals look superb!

Rating: 4/5 moons

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Luger Code 1951 

Joon: Luger Code at first does have a really interesting concept going on. I would not be surprised if this anime does make it big with the story. But what I wasn’t sold on was the animation in general. The fight scenes could have been a little more fleshed out. For something with such an interesting concept to work on, they should have placed emphasis on the animation a tad bit more. But this isn’t to say the animation is unbearable. In fact, it can be quite easily overlooked. Overall, I love the concept of the anime and I have really high hopes for the story

Rating: 3 /5 moons

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Magic-kyun! Renaissance

Chloe: Awesome visuals and music that really brought out the renaissance theme to life. A creative concept surrounding what was a “big hit” during that period of time. From art to music, the elements during the renaissance time were illustrated beautifully. Even the characters themselves have a bit of the renaissance feel to it in terms of the designs. As cliche as it was, what I liked about this anime on the first episode is that it did not jump straight to the romance element with several characters. Hence, the development’s good in my books.

P.S: Umehara Yuuichirou, a.k.a the seiyuu for Ichijouji Teika practiced singing the song for his role! It’s in English and it sounded awesome!

Rating: 3.5 /5 moons

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Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku

Amos: To be perfectly honest, I don’t watch many Mahou Shoujo anime. However, I did watch one critically acclaimed Mahou Shoujo anime Madoka Magica. That is the vibe I’m getting from this anime. Mahou Shoujo animes are typically thought to be happy go lucky, and cute girls doing badass and cute stuff like Sailor Moon but this anime seems to going for anything but that.

This anime is obviously going for a darker approach, with signs that it’ll be battle royale style story, where the magical girls have to fight each other to the death. I don’t really have much hope for this anime until a pretty surprising twist happened which I believe is meant to be the hook of the first episode. The twist being that even guys can be magical girls, I think it gives the anime plenty of chance to dive into harder themes such as sexuality while having kickass action and interesting story. With that said, I don’t think we should have too high of a hope for this anime until there are more episodes to judge from. Because at this point, it feels awfully like an anime trying hard to cash in on Madoka fans looking for their next Madoka.

Rating: 3/5 moons

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Nanbaka

Jane: This anime is a comedy-packed action series which revolves about the four inmates of Cell 13 in Nanba Prison, as well as the guards and wardens. While their story line does seem oddly unique and intriguing to watch – plus all the prison traps that would awake your hidden sadist – I would say that the one thing that made this series more attractive would be their choice of colours. Much. Colours. Such. Vibrant.

The art style does give me some of the Blue Exorcist vibes, but the overall feel is closer to Hamatora, I would say. Seems like a pretty promising comedy series, though I wouldn’t be expecting too much of in-depth, deep, emotional story line.

Rating: 3/5 moons

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Occultic;Nine

Joon-Keat: Better empty those brains of yours before you watch this amazing, ridiculous anime, and not because it’s really dumb but because there a ton of stuff the first episode is going to shove you with. Everything seriously moves so fast I struggled to keep up. I don’t know if this is how it’s meant to be, but I found myself pausing a lot just to read the subs.

But don’t let this small little rant throw you off that badly. Occultic;Nine might not look like it, but it actually has a lot of potential in being an enjoyable series. It was genuinely really hilarious in the first episode and nothing about the story feels generic, except maybe the female cast. The art style did throw me off a bit at first but it’s rather refreshing and I think it really fits well with the atmosphere the anime is going for (which part of me thinks is “Mass Confusion”). I can definitely see someone getting hooked onto this series and I really look forward to how the story develops.

Rating: 4/5 moons

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Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume

Amos: The first episode of this anime is as cliche as it can ever get for an anime related with sports. A new transfer student enters a school, goes into a sports club and shows off how great he/she is and then everyone is surprised, and the episode ends.

If I had to summarise this anime, it would be K -On with ping pong instead of a music band. However, what caught me a little off guard is how engaged I was with the anime in the second half of the first episode despite its rather cringey first half. This is mainly because it is rare to see a sports anime featuring a non co-operative sport like Basketball or Volleyball, and that brings a fresh new twist to the anime’s story telling method. I’m not particular excited for this anime, but its not too bad if you want to see some cute girls doing cute stuff.

Rating: 2.5 /5 moons

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Shuumatsu no Izetta

Hayley: I dove into this anime head first, picking it based on the poster, not reading the summary or anything. I also did not read the manga or even hear of it before, so I was pleasantly surprised at how high quality this anime was! It really blew me away.

The visuals – oh my gosh – the visuals are amazing. That opening scene was really beautiful and just breathtaking. Totally worth watching it in 1080p… worth every ounce of my limited internet data! The first part and the ending of the anime is really interesting and totally captivated me, but the middle part of the first episode was quite boring. There were a lot of facts and knowledge to take in, so maybe that’s why I was a bit bored by it. (I am not very intellectual.) The visuals, as I said, was AMAZING! It was movie quality AMAzING! The audio was pretty great too! All in all, will keep this under my radar.

Rating: 3.5/5 moons

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Touken Ranbo: Hanamaru

Chloe: As much as I am not a Touken Ranbu player, this anime certainly perked my interest. For the fans, it was certainly a delight to see their precious sword boys coming to life. Their quirks and habits can be seen throughout the first episode which was really fun to watch.

What was really interesting is that it does give slight insight on the mechanism of the game. Even non-TouRan players like me found it really enjoyable to see that part of the anime. This is because there are some hints of what the game would be like and even the characters themselves uttered their battle lines in the series. Would really love to see how this series turn out!

Rating: 3.5 /5 moons

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TRICKSTER: Edogawa Rampo “Shounen Tantei-dan” yori

Amos: TRICKSTER seems very edgy and cool at first sight. We have mechas, we have people who seem to have super human abilities and we have a mysterious villain. All of which creates the perfect concoction of a decent anime.

However, by the end of the first episode it seems too similar to many of the recent anime to have came out (e.g. Kekkai Sensen, Bungou Stray Dogs), especially considering how by the end of the first episode, an outcast-like character joins an organisation that does good. At this point, I fear this type of plot might have become a bit too overplayed for me, so unless this anime brings in something new and fresh, it’ll feel bland and uninspired. I’ll defintitely keep up with the anime for the time being and see if’s just another “Bungou Stray Dogs” look alike.

Rating: 3.5 /5 moons

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Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari

Jane: I didn’t watch the teaser PV, nor did I read up on this series’ premise, so when I found out that it involves a shape shifting tanuki childit was a pretty pleasant surprise. What a time to be alive. I can see the story developing into something more cliche later on, but it would probably be the extremely heartwarming kind (since you have a kid in here), like Barakamon. But that aside, this series is pretty aesthetically pleasing with the countryside landscapes and clean art style.

Rating: 3.5/5 moons

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Watashi ga Motete Dousunda

Hayley: I have been eagerly waiting for the release of this anime! I absolutely loved the manga because it was so unique, funny and, at the same time, appealing! The anime version of it DID NOT DISAPPOINT either! It was how I exactly pictured it would be if it was adapted into an anime! The story-line takes a overused harem genre and made it into something fresh and delightfully unique. It is funny and entertaining! I really love the colour scheme used, as it was soft yet bright and colourful; something that emphasized the nature of the show.

One thing that really stood out is the characters. I mean the anime did have the stereotypical guys you always see in reverse-harem shows (and otome games) but, BUT, the girl isn’t as annoying as other main leads, something that really irritates me. The opening, ending and BGM are all wonderful, catchy and lovely! It really suited the tone of the show! I will definitely keep this on my radar. It might actually be the gem of the season!

Rating: 4/5 moons

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Yuri!!! on ICE

Nat: I’ve been looking forward to this series forever, and it really didn’t disappoint. The story and its pacing kept my glued to the screen the whole time, especially when combined with that glorious soundtrack and visuals. The cast of characters were a riot too, filling each scene with so much vibrance, drama and comedy, that it left me no room to feel bored.

The only complaints I have are that some skating scenes obviously had too little frames, making movements a little janky. Also, some people might not enjoy this series much on account of how g a y it is. Well, which sports anime isn’t a bit yaoi these days? Overall, I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series. Definitely a contender for best anime of the season.

Rating: 4.5/5 moons

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Not included in this post: ClassicaLoid, FLIP FLAPPERS, Soushin Shoujo Matoi, Stella no Mahou, Tiger Mask W, 12-Sai. Chiccha na Mune no Tokimeki 2, AJIN 2, Brave Witches, Bubuki Buranki: Hoshi no Kyojin, BUNGOU STRAY DOGS 2, Cardfight!! Vanguard G Next, Digimon Universe: App Monsters, Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou VS Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou, Hibike Euphonium 2, Kaitou Joker 4, Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans 2, Natsume Yuujinchou Go, Pokemon Sun & Moon, SHOW BY ROCK!!, Uta no Prince-sama Maji Love Legend Star, ViVid Strike!, WWW.WORKING!!

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