Hello, I'm Rachael, and I watch anime so you don't have to!
In this list, I'm separating the wheat from the chaff with regards to new shows that premiered on Crunchyroll in their Fall 2015 season. More about Crunchyroll in this hub on anime streaming sites.
I plan to catch up to present times. I started this when it was the current season. So, I'll have my work cut out for me catching up to the present, but my goal is to be caught up by the Fall 2017 season. Anyway, it was a lot of fun assessing everything new during this season. Note that I will not be talking about new installments in existing series like Gintama or One Piece, and I'm only talking about what's available on Crunchyroll. Unfortunately, one of the biggest anime of the Fall 2015 season, One Punch Man, was not available on CR (it is on Daisuki), but I really did like the first episode and hope to watch more of it someday for a proper review. Ok, so here's what went down on Crunchyroll as far as premieres in the Fall 2015 season.
Anime De Training! Ex
Exactly as it sounds like, this anime is a series of animated shorts designed to show you how to do various exercises. Girls in skimpy workout outfits with perky attitudes are there to encourage you in your fitness goals. This is more like a video game or fitness app than like an anime. So yeah, this is a thing that exists. Moving right along...
The Asterisk War
To be honest, my initial assessment of this show is that it's probably not good. The plot is about a magical school where the main character is a boring every-dude who has a cute tsundere girl explain what seems like an overly complicated plot to him, and anime clichés abound in terms of the characters and plot. This probably isn't destined to take off, even though it looks pretty good visually. It just seems like a very average anime, the kind of thing you might make in a single afternoon after reading a "how to draw manga" book. Nothing new going on here.
Beautiful Bones - Sakurako's Investigation
Sakurako is a beautiful girl who is obsessed with bones. Her uncle is a forensics professor. While she's brilliant and able to make the police look stupid by giving her expert opinion, she doesn't exactly have the best interpersonal skills. All that matters to her is finding human remains. The main character is a younger classmate who likes to tag along with her but is beneath her notice most of the time.
This anime is funny and interesting. I like forensics-themed shows, and this has a lot of that joy of discovery, of solving the puzzle, found in other forensics shows. It has spectacular animation. It has that annoying "clueless dude without his own personality awkwardly goes along with crazy girl because hot" thing they do in a lot of anime, so there's that. But I thought this show was mostly enjoyable.
Breakin is a robot dude in a fantasy world who challenges the king of dance to a dance-off for his title of king. The king says that Breakin still has to learn a lot about dancing, so he sends him to Earth, where he has to find his magical Dance Stones in order to return and one day hope to challenge the king again. Of course, Breakin forms a partnership with Ordinary Japanese School Child Protagonist #1,298, aka Hibiki. Both of them meet when they are attacked by a pink alligator, a common Earth hazard. Overall, this feels kind of like Pokemon or Digimon or something like that, but with a break-dancing robot. Crazy, but kind of cool.
This one has a boy who is getting chased by his arranged-marriage fiance and her family's underlings. Apparently, neither the guy or the girl want the marriage, but it's what their families have decided. Gotta love Asian culture. A frenzied motorcycle chase leads everyone into accidentally discovering an underground cave system. Everyanime Protagonistboy stubles upon a magical gem that glows, producing a blue-haired unconscious girl. So yeah, another Tuesday in animeland. In just the first episode, I thought this was a show strewn with anime cliches and that the main characters and plot seemed relatively boring. But it may get better later on.
DD Fist of the North Star
This is just a SD or "super-deformed" cartoonish version of the classic anime, Fist of the North Star. Since the original anime is incredibly serious, it's kind of funny to see what is essentially a creator-made parody of it. But, the humor relies on you having seen the original Fist of the North Star. This feels like a DVD extra they could tack onto Fist of the North Star, rather than its own thing.
Digimon Adventure tri
This Digimon series returns to the original Digi-destined children from the first season of Digimon, who are now older teenagers. After a while where the way to the digital world was closed, it's now been reopened, forcing them to become involved as they once were with Digimon and reunited with their old partners. On the one hand, I liked this for igniting my nostalgic feels, but I also am not so sure I'll like it. I'll definitely watch it at some point since I'm such a big Digimon fan, but the plot in the beginning is not super interesting. I'm not saying it will be bad, but this kind of feels like the J.J."let's revive dead cashcows" Abrams style of nostalgic reboot for the sake of nostalgic reboot. Might be better than that. We'll see. This is actually a series of films, it's only presented in an episode format by Crunchyroll because... Crunchyroll hates movies? One thing that strikes me as odd is that these kids acted like teenagers when they were kids, and they're acting like adults now that they're teenagers. I guess that's just a culture thing though. Also, it's weird to me to go from a super-localized American English dub with changed names to getting used to these characters' original Japanese names, for example calling Tai "Taichi" and so on.
In some kind of post-apocalyptic world, some military scientists have recruited some boys to train to fight the monsters outside the walled city in which humanity hides from them. So, it's kind of like Attack on Titan, and kind of like Neon Genesis Evangelion, in initial plot setup. Lenka Utsugi is considered a promising recruit, and he resembles Eren from Attack on Titan in determination to fight the enemy. I thought that the animation style reminded me of a video game, and that's because this is based on a video game. That doesn't make it bad, but the animation is certainly unusual as a result of looking so much like a video game. It kind of seems like a standard sci-fi, but I might like it because it's one anime with a very serious tone in a season otherwise full of upbeat mashmallow fluff shows.
Hackadoll the Animation
In an unnamed year in the future called 2XXX, Hackadolls are android girls designed to entertain humans. Three of them on the verge of being rejected and sold for scrap are instead sent to Earth to advance humanity. They stumble upon a bored nerdy girl who looks sort of like a grown-up Homura, and don't know what to do to advance her. Hilarity ensues. This show has short episodes, but it is pretty funny and worth checking out if you want a light-hearted, entertaining, mildly sexy comedy show.
This cute show made me laugh a lot in the first episode. A Shinto shrine's spirit comes to life in the form of a little girl, but the spirit is rather unhappy as such because she has great power and is actually ancient. Bland characters show up that basically act as a foil to showcase Hakone-chan's wild personality. The first episode was a riot and I wouldn't mind staying and seeing how it plays out, especially if there is more character development later on.
Insipid drivel masquerading as comedy. Totally skip it.
In this series featuring short episode lengths and an interesting, unique animation style, three guys set out to the woods. They claim to be searching for UMAs, or "Unidentified Mysterious Animals", but they're really just making a vlog show with some fake Nessie footage. But, of course, they encounter a real Nessie-like monster in the lake. Professor Banba, introduced but not shown at the beginning of the episode, just casually observes.
I thought this show was interesting, and I liked its unique animation style.
Komori-San Can't Decline!
You'd think the premise of a schoolgirl with big "talent" who never says no to anyone would be the premise for a less innocent sort of anime, but this show plays that premise for comedy instead of fan-service, more or less. Komori is a girl who always helps everyone, and hilarity ensues as her acceptance of some request usually leads many others to make similar ones, until a less patient person would tell them all to f*ck off. So this girl certainly has a heart of gold. This is just a harmless school comedy with episodes running only 2 minutes, so it's good if you just want to shut your brain off for a while and be mildly amused by schoolgirl antics.
Lance N' Masques
Yotaro is the last remaining member of an organization of "knights of the world", and so is one of the last knights of the 21st century. Wielding a red lance and wearing a cape and mask, he sets out and rescues a falling little girl. He finds out that the girl lives in a big mansion alone, and beats up some generic goons who attack her. He then vows to protect her from then on. Basically, it seems like a standard troperiffic anime that, like Hayate the Combat Butler, makes fun of existing anime tropes. But it also seems to have characters who are sincere and genuine, almost like it's actually rebelling against postmodern cynicism and romanticizing the idea of medieval chivalry. Anyway, it should be interesting to see how this one turns out.
Another comedy short anime, this focuses on the adorably silly antics of a Shiba Inu dog called Muco. It's cute, but the animation is a bit crude and it's honestly not that funny. It's probably good for kids though.
Another cutesy short-episode-format comedy series, this one focuses on the wacky hijinks of a girl with magic powers. It's kind of like Sabrina the Teenage Witch but more comedic.
I hated this one. The first episode seemed like it was just a Robot Chicken sketch with no actual jokes, or just like a kid pretending her dolls were having a mundane conversation. There was nothing interesting or compelling about this show, I think they just made it thinking that the stop-motion animation style would be gimmicky enough to catch attention. But they kind of forgot to make a compelling story or to make their characters interesting. Or, to even have some dialog that doesn't sound like inane drivel.
Miss Monochrome - The Animation
This show is going to be your new go-to for moe/kawaii. Especially, I would recommend it for fans of the vocaloid manga, or any anime about a pop singer like Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi or such. The titular Miss Monochrome is an android idol singer who, in the first episode, goes to Mt. Fuji with her retinue to pray for her album's success. Up there, she goes into a deep trance, becomes one with the cosmos, and has the epiphany: she needs a DJ. This show is cute, clever, funny, and I expect good things from it in the future.
Mobile Suit GUNDAM: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Aside from One Punch Man, which is not on Crunchyroll (which is why it's not on here), I'd say this is probably the best action series that debuted in the Fall 2015 season. This anime explores the serious repercussions of using children as soldiers. Our protagonist is gifted at synchronizing with his giant mech, but he's involved in a gritty war and a ton of shady political goings-on. This captures what was great about earlier mech shows, and gives the idea of the mech show a gritty, more realistic feel. For contrast, you can think of the way that predecessor G Gundam felt sort of like a martial arts tournament with few real-world consequences, where the main plot was heavily character-driven. Instead, in this series, the plot is driven by the war, political struggle, and the needs of the many, and individual characters are just pieces of a much larger puzzle.
Perhaps one of the weirder, and most hilarious, shows this season. Mr. Osomatsu tells of some characters from an old Showa era. The characters of that anime, a group of sextuplet guys, want to be rebooted so that modern audiences will appreciate their show, but their cartoon antics and animation style just hasn't aged well.
So the brothers get their wish and change into more modern, glamorous anime characters, inhabiting a glamorous world to match. So it's a spoof of not only recent trends in anime (with everything being hilariously pushed to the shiny end of the sliding scale of shiny vs. gritty aesthetically), but also the silliness of the original source material. It's a good way to revitalize an outdated comedy with a reboot, while staying as funny as the original, but still including some impressive updated animation. I can see that a lot of talent and thought went into this one.
Peeping Life TV Season 1??
This is a comedy series focusing on classic anime characters like Astro Boy and imagining them as not as innocent and pure as they were originally conceived. Meaning, this is sort of like Robot Chicken, but for old anime instead of old American cartoons. I'm not sure I'd get that much out of it, because I'm not familiar with or into that many of the shows being represented, because my nostalgia era is the late 90's and early 2000's. But, I do think this show had some decent jokes.
The Perfect Insider
Well, I found it, this season's deep, nerdy, philosophical one for deep thinkers. From watching the first episode, I liked it. I found the characters to be realistic but still interesting. A sharp-witted grad student girl with a crush on her eccentric professor both seem to be caught up in an intriguing mystery surrounding someone else, but how are they connected? A mysterious, waif-like woman who was a child genius engineer is suspected of killing her parents, but she claims a doll did it. What the hell? This mystery anime seems very compelling.
Robot Girls Z
Brought to you by Toei Animation of Sailor Moon and other magical girl shows, Robot Girls Z kind of reminded me in terms of over-the-top violence and looks of Kill La Kill. But unlike in Kill La Kill there weren't characters with as much stage presence or forceful personalities.
In the first episode, we see two girls, one of which has a gigantic head, beating the ever-loving crap out of each other. These girls' fighting is ended and two of their friends walk up. Then, for no apparent reason, a girl on top of a building starts shooting missiles at everyone on the ground. The girls, minus the one with the big head, counter-attack by turning into a team of magical girls/giant robots. They're having trouble protecting big-headed girl from a stray missile when another team of even better magical/robot girls shows up, who are the ones who actually save the day.
I basically just think this one is okay, but it might have potential.
This is a cute little slice of life comedy. It's kind of like Crayon Shin-chan without the localized dub making it darker and edgier. It's just a lighthearted, goofy comedy about a family of four. The craziest character is the "strong willed" mother. Everyone else is normal and just kind of has to deal with the mother getting into silly shenanigans. I thought it was... ok. I tend to like more cynical, edgier humor, so this was a little too bland for me. But, it is good at showing the comedic potential in many everyday situations.
Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note
Aya Tachibana has the anime protagonist-ist of all problems, no friends in school. She crushes on the popular soccer team boys, but they were mean to her. But wouldn't you know it, she gets placed into a special gifted student class with those very same boys! I basically expect some cliché schoolkid romance anime hijinks, but it did look cute.
A commenter on the first episode on Crunchyroll said it best: "This seems like a nice low energy story of a middle school girl learning how to break out of her shell. Good for a a Wednesday morning when you don't want worry about zombies or battling robots"
Utawarerumono The False Faces
Try saying "Utawarerumono" three times fast, oy!
Boy meets girl, girl rescues boy from weird red blobby human-like thing in cave. Girl makes boy do manual labor which he's not good at. Then, to be lazy, he fixes a water wheel, showing that he is the kind of guy who is better off working using his head than his hands.
Looks like a standard fantasy adventure, has a slight Inuyasha vibe to me.
Young Black Jack
Finishing out this season's list of sequels and/or reboots, Young Black Jack is a prequel to "father of manga" Osamu Tezuka's manga Black Jack, which is about a doctor called that, and not about the game where you try to make your cards add up to 21. It starts out in 1968 during student protests at Tokyo University. At that time, the titular young Black Jack is a med student, passionate about saving lives. They think he should join the protests, but our protagonist is only focused on one thing: becoming the best doctor he could possibly be. Why is he so driven? Why did he scar himself up just to make a point about being a good doctor? This show is compelling because its protagonist is, if nothing else.
Fall 2015 was kind of an average season for anime. The best of this season were:
- One Punch Man
- Young Black Jack
- Iron-Blooded Orphans
- Digimon Adventure tri
But, I think there are some less well-known shows from this season that might be worth watching, that didn't get as much attention. For mature mysteries, I would definitely recommend checking out The Perfect Insider and Beautiful Bones: Sakurako's Investigation. In action and sci-fi, I liked God Eater. It was a good season for comedy as well, for comedy I would recommend Mr. Osomatsu. There was a lot of variety this season, but it was generally light-hearted and comedic.