Salutations fellow weeaboo’s, we hope your anime watching is as fulfilling as our commentaries, now let’s get right into this new must watch list!
Ikebukuro West Gate Park (IWGP)
In Ikebukuro, both violent street gangs and the Yakuza roam freely in its streets without fear.
As it is with the nature of both street and organized gangs, war is inevitable between rival factors.
Makoto Majima, a youth who makes Ikebukuro his home, serves as Ikebukuro’s street mediator between gangs. Makoto aims to resolve disputes with rival gangs in effort to protect his love ones and friends involved on the square side and the street side of the game.
Makoto works alongside with G-Boys, perhaps Ikebukuro’s largest color gang ran by the sharply dressed gentleman Takashi “King” Andou; Makoto’s old classmate.
Takashi may comes across as a goofy and joyful man with an affinity towards high end suits , but that quirky nature of his is only to hide his true self: a ruthless, cut throat gang leader.
Together, both Makoto and Takashi aim to protect the peace in their beloved Ikebukuro through destroying illegal drug operations, protecting innocent workers from cruel unethical employers, and clearing the names of those who are wrongfully convicted of crimes.
Yet, as intense, violent gang warfare increases day-by-day will the innocent and mild-mannered Makoto Majima be able to maintain his cool, or will he succumb to the chaos of the unforgiving streets?
For those who are fans of the legendary anime series Durarara!!, you may find similarities to it and Ikebukuro West Gate Park that will hook you into the show (in fact, Durarara!! was inspired by Ikebukuro West Gate Park) . Like it’s younger counterpart Durarara!!, Ikebukuro West Gate Park dives into the street/grassroots culture of the Ikebukuro, but with a more down-to-earth approach.
While it (probably) won’t be as massively popular as other shounen shows this season such as Jujutsu Kaisen it does hold a lot of promise to be mildly successful and popular.
Please watch this show. It’s an underappreciate gem for the season.
[IKEBUKURO WEST GATE PARK PRODUCTION STAFF NOTES]
STUDIO: Doga Kobo (Himouto! Umaru-chan, Yuru Yuri, How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift?)
ORIGINS: Multi-media (11-episode TV series, graphic novel, light novel, one film)
CREATOR: Ira Ishida (4TEEN, Akihabara@Deep, Hapi Navi)
DIRECTOR: Tomoaki Koshida (Zoku Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru, Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san)
CHARACTER DESIGNER: Junichirou Taniguchi (Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun, Your Name, Puella Magi Madoka Magica). He’s also the chief animator director for IWGP.
SERIES COMPOSTION: Fumihiko Shimo (Air, Amagi Brilliant Park, Clannad)
MUSIC COMPOSER: Ryuichi Takada (Soul Calibur, Tekken, Katamari Damacy)
Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle – Rhyme Anima
In the not too distant future, the world is ruled by ruthless women. The creation, use, and possession of weapons are banned outside of military usage. However, despite the elimination of weapons globally, conflict persists – not through violence and weapons – but through words and music instead.
To conquer land, talented hip-hop artists and rappers use the power of the Hypnosis Mic: a powerful and fearsome weapon that turns words into bullets and music into bombs; causing real harm to anyone unlucky enough to be the Hypnosis Mic’s target.
The charming rapper from the Ikebukuro district, Ichirou Yamada, led his blood brothers and teammates Jiro and Saburo from battle-to-battle to deliver justice to wrongdoers. The two fight to defend those who cannot fight for themselves.
Will they install peace into their beloved Ikebukuro, or will outside forces destroy Ichirou’s dreams?
For those who love Japanese B-Boys and Japanese hip-hop/battle rap, you will do yourself some good by catching this series every week. You may not help but you bob your head to the beat of the music as rappers engage and risk their lives and street cred to claim dominance throughout the Japanese hip-hop scene. The musical performance by the voice actors of this show is perhaps the highlight of the series so far, which make sense given this is a hip-hop anime after all.
STUDIO: A-1 Pictures (Sword Art Online, Your Lie in April, Fairy Tail)
ORIGINS: Multimedia (mobile game, manga, recording group under the King Records Co., Ltd label)
CREATOR: King Records Co, Ltd
DIRECTOR: Katsumi Ono (Girly Air Force, Hataraki Man, Yu-Gi-Oh!)
CHARACTER DESIGNER: Chisato Kawaguchi (Black Butler, Air Movie, Erased)
SERIES COMPOSTION/WRITER: Shin Yoshida (Karas, Girly Air Force, Yu-Gi-oh! 5D’s)
MUSIC COMPOSER: RON (Akuma no Riddle, Drifters, Stella no Mahou)
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou
After nearly a decade without an full anime on air, the classic and groundbreaking horror series Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni is finally back on TV…as a continuation and not a remake as originally promoted (blame Funimation for translating the kanji for “gou” as “new” and not “karma”; which is the correct translation for gou in this this series).
I, as well as many others, were shocked to find out that Higurashi Gou was in fact an continuation of the original story upon watching the second episode where we saw Rika talking to Hanyuu in the Meta World (a reference to the successor of Higurashi, Umineko no Naku Koro ni).
For those unaware the importance of this; Hanyuu doesn’t show up until the second half of the Higurashi story: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai.
So, off the jump, you are automatically spoiled about her character if you’re a newcomer to the series.
However, both series creator Ryukishi07 and director Keiichirou Kawaguchi have gone on record and state that Higurashi Gou is accessible to both new and old fans alike and that scene from the original anime has changed to surprise old fans and have new fans guessing at the new Higurashi mystery. With that said, Hanyuu appearing in the second episode may not be much of a spoil for new fans.
From watching the first four episode of the anime at the time of the writing, it is clear that Higurashi Gou is on a separate path from the older Higurashi anime. We don’t want to spoil any special moments, but certain classic characters may play new and different roles from what they played from previous Higurashi stories.
If you’re a fan of the original Higurashi anime series or its source material (the sound novel) then do yourself a favor and watch Higurashi Gou.
For those who are just getting into Higurashi, you can watch this new series as well. However, you will greatly benefit from reading the original sound visual novel, the manga adaptation, or the original Studio DEEN anime so you can appreciate where this anime came from and why people love the Higurashi series so much.
STUDIO: Passione (Cirtus, Isekai Reviewers, Rokka no Yuusha)
ORIGINS: Sound Novel
CREATOR: Ryukishi07 (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Rose Gun Days, Harem Royale: When They Game Ends)
DIRECTOR: Keiichirou Kawaguchi (Great Teacher Onizuka, Hayate the Combat Butler, Mayo Chiki!!)
CHARACTER DESIGNER: Akio Watanabe (Monogatri anime series, Grappler Baki, member of the doujin circle Pokopii)
SERIES COMPOSTION/WRITER: Naoki Hayashi (Black Fox, Citrus, Flip Flappers)
MUSIC COMPOSER: Kenji Kawai (Ghost in the Shell, fate/stay night, Mob Pyscho 100)
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle
As a born Taurus, I sympathize with Princess Syalis, the main character of this show.
All she wants is a good night rest, some shut-eye, just one peaceful slumber…even if she’s being held prisoner at a demon lord’s castle full of dreadful monsters, ghouls, and demons.
Now, a normal girl would be too terrified to sleep in this situation. But Princess Syalis’s a freak of nature and she’s not normal.
Every night, Princess Syalis plots how to get a restful night of sleep. She has several tricks up her sleeves to obtain her desires: ranging from luring and tricking demonic teddy bears to her cell for its key in exchange for head pats and fur combing, pretending to be a ghost to sneak past guards, and stealing vampire coffins for her to sleep in.
She isn’t normal (and she’s a sadistic girl that finds joy in making vampires sleep depraved).
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is one of eleven fantasy anime to come out this fall season and from evaluating most of the shows from that genre, we have to say that Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is one of the top fantasy shows of the season.
It’s simple yet assuming premise is charming.
The characters’ appearances borrow from classic fantasy JRPG video game tropes such as minitours and zombies.
I personally had a few fun laughs at how Princess Syalis manages to fall asleep, or when she gets caught and chastises for her actions.
If you are seeking for a light-hearted, warm and comfort show to get you through this fall anime season, then you must check out Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle now.
STUDIO: Doga Kobo (Himouto! Umaru-chan, Yuru Yuri, How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift?)
CREATOR: Kagiji Kumanomata (Nuigurumi Crash)
DIRECTOR: Mitsune Yamazaki (Bleach, How Heavy Are They Dumbbells You Lift?, Kure-nai)
CHARACTER DESIGNER: Ai Kikuchi (Sailor Moon, Cowboy Bebop, Plastic Memories)
SERIES COMPOSTION/WRITER: Yoshiko Nakamaura (Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East, The Helpful Fox Senko-san)
The Journey of Elaina
Continuing the trend of showcasing excellent fantasy anime, next on our list is The Journey of Elaina by studio C2C.
Toshiyuki Kubooka (Berserk 2016…that one) is in the director chair as he brings to life Jougi Shiraishi’s tale of the Ashen Witch Elaina’s journey across the world to hone her skills and document her story.
Each episode follows Elaina journey as each visit a different town in the world of mages. Akin to Kino’s Journey, every episode features Elaina learning about herself as a traveler, the best way to interact in a situation, solving the problems of those around her, and learning a lesson from what she had done in each episode.
Despite the director’s recent blunders with the Berserk CGI series, The Journey of Elaina is (so far) a well put together and animated adaption of the original light novel with bright scenery, lively backgrounds and animation.
The scene of Elaina fighting against her master Fran move with fuildity that you would expect from a match between a rookie student who’s struggling with her powers and her master-level teacher who clearly out powers her meek kohai by miles.
While episode three featured a dark moment between a foreign teenage slave being abused by her master, the series is light-hearted and like Sleepy Princess, is an comfort show that you can sit back, relax, and watch after a long day at work or school with a warm bowl of soup or a cup of hot chocolate during this fall season.
STUDIO: C2C (Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu, WorldEnd, Oneechan ga Kita)
ORIGINS: Light novel
CREATOR: Jougi Shiraishi (Riviere to Inori no Kuni)
DIRECTOR: Toshiyuki Kubooka (Berserk 2016, Project A-Ko, Gunbuster)
CHARACTER DESIGNER: Takeshi Oda (Battle Spirits, Hayate the Combat Butler, Night Head Genesis)
SERIES COMPOSTION/WRITER: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu (Black Clover, Nana, Strawberry Panic)
MUSIC COMPOSER: AstroNoteS (Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy, fate/kaleid, High School DxD Hero)
Tonikawa: Over the Moon for You
As I watched our main character Nasa (seriously, that’s his name) chase his future wife Tsukasa down a busy road after she (a stranger at the time), saved his life from taking the full blunt impact of a speeding truck on one snowy night, I was reminded of the hook of the late Tupac’s classic Do For Love:
“What you won’t do, do for love
You tried everything, but you don’t give up”
Nasa truly embraces his pursuit for the love of the woman who saved his life – even if she’s a stranger of unknown origins, he’s suffering from massive blood lost and his legs are shattered from being hit by a truck. But why you may ask?
Well, he’s in love. It’s that simple.
That, and he was in awestruck at how Tsukasa looked like Princess Kaguya from the 10th centuary Japanese story The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter in the light of the full moon, if Princess Kaguya was a pink-haired coffee-pounding Japanese teenage girl with a nasty bloody gash across her forehead.
Impressed that Nasa spent all of his energy chasing after an unknown girl like her to a bus shelter as opposed to going to an hospital to avoid certain death by the wheels of Truck-kun, Tsukasa promises the love-sick Nasa that she will be his girlfriend – but only if he marries her (which he agrees to).
Two years later, Nasa and Tsukasa wed; despite not knowing anything about each other. That won’t stop these two lovers from letting their relationship bloom and grow.
Tonikawa: Over the Moon for You is an incredibly fun and romantic show to watch this season. It is not only interesting to see how a newlywed couple learns how to live with each other, but also seeing them tackle the challenge of love at first sight and dealing with their friends discovering that they are married.
I myself am not married, so I admit it’s hard to connect with the characters in terms of understanding their relationship, but I respect and admire the effort of Tsukasa and Nasa learning how to love each other. I find myself rooting for both of them, especially Nasa (because he’s a driven Taurus who wants to make something out of himself outside his name).
I highly recommend giving this show a chance, especially if you’re a newlywed couple or been married for years.
By the way, Tonikawa has the best OP of the season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6l8THwbcfY
STUDIO: Seven Arcs (Sekirei, Dog Days, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical)
CREATOR: Kenjiro Hata (God’s Rocket Punch!, Hayate the Combat Butler, Ad Astra per Asperra)
DIRECTOR: Hiroshi Ikehata (Kiratto Pri*Chan, Black Bullet)
CHARACTER DESIGNER: Masakatsu Sasaki (A-Channel, Digimon Adventures, Nadia: Secert of Blue Water)
SERIES COMPOSTION: Kazuho Hyoudou (Robot Girls Z, ReLIFE, Mahou Shoujo Taisen)
MUSIC COMPOSER: Endou (Akiba’s Trip the Animation)
That concludes our top fall 2020 animes that you should give a try.
There are other fall anime shows that I watched such as the three episodes of OVA Burn the Witch: the anime adaption of the one-shot manga of the same name by legendary mangaka author, Tite Kubo (I really hope you don’t ask me what he made). There’s also Noblesse, and With a Cat and Dog Every Day is Fun that I enjoyed watching.
However, due to time restriction, I wasn’t able to cover those three shows in this review. If you are interested in my opinions on those shows, you can hear them on the recent episode of The Swarthy Nerd Podcast here:
Hope you found these recommendations useful and we’ll see ya next week!
–Benjamin Snow is a co-writer & executive producer for the Swarthy Nerd podcast